Unique culinary experiences 3: Five typical dishes from the Ecuadorian Coast

Unique culinary experiences 3: Five typical dishes from the Ecuadorian Coast
Get ready to know the incredible Ecuadorian coast through some of its most famous and delicious typical dishes.

Would you go to the Ecuadorian coast just for its beautiful beaches? It may seem like a good enough reason, but you wouldn’t even be close to getting to know and experience this unique region of Ecuador. There is a phrase that says that “when you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you invite them into your life”. This idea fits perfectly with what you will live in any corner of the Ecuadorian coast where you have a gastronomic experience. As you enter the countless restaurants and small food businesses, you will feel as loved as if you were in your own home. The people of the Ecuadorian coast are very friendly, open, sociable, attentive and fun. To this you must add the wonder of being in forests, mangroves and dream beaches. We will get to know this incredible region of Ecuador through some of its most famous and delicious typical dishes.

One of the most delicious typical dishes that is loved by nationals and foreigners is the “Tigrillo”. This dish is usually eaten at breakfast and is made from mashed green plantains mixed with egg, cheese and crackling. The name “Tigrillo” comes from the feline from the American continent whose name in English is Margay. You’re probably wondering why a typical dish is named after a feline. The answer to this comes from the ancestors of a sector of the Ecuadorian coast called Zaruma. Here people roasted the plantains in a process of direct contact with the fire until they are toasted and burned in some parts. Then they would mash the plantains and the result of the preparation would be black spots inside the mashed plantains. This gives a contrast between the yellow of the plantain combine with the black spots, colors similar to those of the Margay.

A typical and very traditional dish of the Ecuadorian coast is called “Encocado”. The particularity of this dish that combines fish or seafood, onion, pepper and garlic, is the basis of its preparation that is the coconut milk. Can there be a dish more representative of a coastal region? White rice and patacones are also included. This dish was born more than 200 years ago. The way people extract coconut milk is something that has not changed since ancient times. The process to extract the coconut milk is handmade, the pulp must be grated to squeeze its liquids. This makes the taste and smell of this typical dish something unique. You can find the “Encocado” in any restaurant and small food business that you come across on your way along the Ecuadorian coast.

We can go back even further to the pre-Hispanic period before the Spanish conquistadors arrived to find another typical dish of this region. The province of Manabí is the place where the “Viche” was born and over the years it has become its gastronomic reference. In order to determine the origin of this dish, archaeological tests have been carried out, which have led to the discovery of very ancient cultures such as the Valdivia or the Chorrera whose peoples consumed this dish. Its preparation contains onion, pepper, garlic, pumpkin, beans, plantain and peanuts. Like the “Encocado”, the “Viche” can be found in any restaurant or small food business.

Something you will be able to find on the Ecuadorian coast and especially in the city of Guayaquil, are the cheapest and most accessible gastronomic alternatives for anyone. These gastronomic alternatives can be found in the streets of Guayaquil at a very cheap price and for which you will get really delicious typical dishes. The perfect example of this is the “Encebollado”. This is a hot soup containing yucca, onion, coriander, albacore, plantain chips, white rice and bread. This combination of ingredients results in a very special taste that will serve you very well if you drank to much the day before and need an effective hangover remedy.

Returning to the food that was born in pre-Hispanic times, the “Encanutado de bocachico” is a dish that combines fish stew, onions, peppers, salt, peanuts and annatto. For its preparation it is necessary to let the ingredients cook in wood for a day to obtain the mass of the annatto that is served in this typical dish.

Don’t limit your experience on the Ecuadorian coast to staying in hotels and visiting the beaches, if you really want to get to know this region you should go out to its picturesque streets and try the countless typical dishes that reflect the culture and customs of the local people. Follow us for more tips.

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